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Troubleshooting printer installation and communication issues in Mac OS X Leopard (10.5)


  • You cannot add the Epson printer driver in Print & Fax
  • Printer does not print
  • You receive "Printer Paused" error messages
  • You receive a "Communication Error" message
  • Print-outs are faint
  • The Epson Printer Utility cannot be accessed
  • Print Settings/Printer Settings is not available or is crossed-out
  • Print options, such as paper type and quality, are limited


If you are experiencing issues on Mac OS X Leopard (10.5), either with installing your printer or with printing in general then there may be a communication issue, or you may be using a non-Epson printer driver. This article explains how to identify and resolve the problem.


Important Information: Mac OS X Leopard Driver Support

Mac OS X Leopard (version 10.5) was released in October 2007. For all Epson products released prior to this date, the original software CD-ROM does not contain a driver suitable for Mac OS 10.5. Many products are supported by a driver available from the Drivers & Software section of the Epson Support website (dated October 2007 or later), and other products may have inbox driver support. For more information, see the following Related Article: EPSON and Leopard - Mac OS X 10.5

Notes Icon Note:

For trouble-free operation, we recommend using the latest driver. Mac OS X may add a third party printer driver or an earlier Epson inbox driver instead of the latest Epson driver. If you have attempted to add the printer in Print & Fax, you may have added a third party driver, which may even be for a different printer.

Where a product has both Epson inbox driver and website driver support, Epson recommend using the latest driver which is available from the Epson Support website. Where a product has only Epson inbox driver support, ensure you have installed the EpsonPrinterDrivers.pkg file from the Mac OS 10.5 installation DVD or restore CD (under Optional Installs) and added the correct driver.

Update your Mac system:

We also recommend ensuring that you are using the latest version of Mac OS 10.5. You can check for updates via Apple menu > Software Update. Download and install any OS updates and restart the Mac before starting the troubleshooting.

Follow Steps 1 - 4 to check that the printer is fully working.

  1. Check that there is power to the printer.

    • If the printer is powered OFF, check that it is connected to and powered on at the power socket, then press the power button to turn the printer on.
    • Power is indicated by a green, red, or amber light on the printer's control panel. For printers with an LCD panel, when the LCD is on this also indicates that there is power to the printer.
    • If the printer will not power on, see the following Related Article: There appears to be no power to the Printer - all lights are off. What can I do?

  2. Check for any red or amber error lights on the printer control panel, or error messages on the printer's LCD panel.

    1. If there is power to the printer but printing does not complete, check for a red error light on the printer control panel.

    2. For printers with an LCD panel, check:

      • For any error lights on the printer control panel.
      • For any error messages displayed on the LCD panel.

        A red, or for some printers amber, light indicates an error with the printer. The error and associated error light need to be cleared in order to print again or undertake further troubleshooting. If an error light is displayed on the printer control panel, refer to your printer's user guide for assistance. For printers in the Stylus 'C' and 'D' range e.g. 'Stylus C86', 'Stylus D120', see Error lights Stylus inkjet C and D range printers.

        If only a solid green light is illuminated on the printer control panel and no error messages are displayed on the LCD panel, the printer should be capable of normal functions.

        For printers with an LCD panel, ensure that it is not in the Setup or Maintenance mode.

        Product with an LCD panel, in the Setup mode.

        • If the product is in the Setup or Maintenance mode, this may not allow printing from a computer.
        • Press one of the other mode buttons such as the Photo mode, Memory Card mode, or Copy mode button to exit the menu and return to the normal display. Pressing the Setup mode button may also exit this menu and return to the previous mode.

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  3. Perform a printer operation check.

    If there is power to the printer and the printer control panel is not displaying any error lights or error messages, perform a printer operation check. You will need to load plain A4 paper into the printer's paper sheet feeder.

    • Printers without an LCD screen (buttons only):

      Start with the printer powered OFF. Hold down the Maintenance or Paper button, and press the Power button. Release the Power button, and continue to hold down the Maintenance or Paper button until the printer starts to feed paper. This will print a nozzle check.

    • All-In-Ones without an LCD screen:

      Start with the printer powered OFF. Hold down the Ink or the Stop button, and press the On button. Release the On button, and continue to hold down the Ink or the Stop button until the printer starts to feed paper. This will print a nozzle check.

    • Printers with an LCD screen:

      Browse through the LCD menu and enter either the Setup, Utility, or Maintenance mode. The option you have here depends on your printer model. Next, select either Nozzle Check or Check Ink Nozzles. Press either the Start or colour Copy button to print a nozzle check.

      Notes Icon Note:

      As this process varies across printer models, please consult your printer user guide for instructions if you require more detailed instructions.

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  4. Printer operation check results:
    • If the printer does not pass the printer operation check:
      We recommend performing it again. Should the operation check fail again, this may indicate a fault with the printer and it may require a service. No further troubleshooting with the Mac would be necessary at this point.

    • If the printer does pass the printer operation check:
      This confirms that the printer is fully working and the issue is related either to a breakdown in communication between the printer and the Mac, configuration of the Mac OS X system, or the driver installation on the Mac OS X computer. Reconnect the printer to the computer and follow the next series of steps to troubleshoot the issue.

  5. Check the status of the print queue, as jobs or the printer may be paused.

    1. Click on the printer's icon in the Dock.

    2. If the printer's icon is not listed in the dock, open the printer from System Preferences > Print & Fax.
      • The Status column shows whether the document is printing or on hold.
      • "Printer Paused" appears next to the printer's icon if printing has been paused.
      • If the dialogue states Printer Ready with no jobs waiting to print you will see the following screen, move to the next step:

    3. Follow the appropriate instruction below to resume printing, delete jobs, or resume the printer. Please note that paused printing will stop the jobs for the printer and is not beneficial for this troubleshooting.
      • To resume a print job that is on hold, select it and click Resume.

      • To delete a print job, select it and click Delete.

      • To resume printing after the printer has been paused, click Resume Printer:

      • You cannot pause or delete print jobs on another user's shared printer.

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  6. If you deleted a print job and the status is now Printer Ready, try printing again from Text Edit (found in Applications).

    • If a paused print job does not resume, or the print from Text Edit does not complete, check the connections and resume the print job.

    • If you receive a "Communication Error", check the connections and select Retry.

    • If the print is then successful, the problem may be resolved and no troubleshooting required.

    • If the print fails, click Cancel on the dialogue box matching the example above. Open the Print Queue, Delete the print jobs and make sure that the printer is not set to Paused or that jobs for the printer are not on hold.

    • Open Status Monitor to check if it detects a problem with the printer such as an empty ink cartridge. If an error is detected, take the recommended steps to resolve the issue.

      Notes Icon Note:

      The printer monitor window appears automatically when you start a print job. You can check the printer (and ink cartridge) status from this window.

      You can access Status Monitor from the Utility icon at the top of the Epson printer's Print Queue window, or via the Epson Printer Utility (found in /Applications, or /Applications/Utilities). Click on the Status Monitor button. If you require assistance with this step, see the following Related Article: How to check Status Monitor in Mac OS X

    • Move to Step 7 if you need to continue with printer troubleshooting.

  7. If you are still experiencing printing issues, attempt to isolate the issue. Follow the appropriate section for your printer:

    Isolating the issue - USB / FireWire printers:

    1. Check the data cable (USB or FireWire) connection at both ends. Connect the printer's data cable directly to a port on the Mac.
      • Do not connect the printer via a third party device such as an external USB hub, a USB extension cable, or a USB port in a keyboard.
      • Use a data cable that is no longer than 1.8m. Anything longer than this can reduce reliability.
      • If there is a response from the printer when you attempt a print, such as some printing occurs or the ink levels can be viewed, move to Step 12.
      • If there is no response from the printer when you send a print job, follow the next step (Step 7b) and onwards.
    2. Open the System Profiler from /Applications/Utilities.

    3. In the Apple System Profiler, click on Hardware under the Contents menu. Click on either USB or FireWire depending on the way that your printer is connected to the Mac.

      USB -The USB Device Tree appears on the right, listing the devices including printers detected on the USB Bus:

      FireWire - Any detected FireWire devices, including printers, will be listed in the information window on the right under FireWire Bus.

      • If the Epson printer appears: The printer is detected by the Mac. Move to Step 8 for further troubleshooting.
      • If the Epson printer does not appear: There is a communication issue. Re-check the data cable connections, as described in Step 7a.
        • As the System Profiler does not update itself quickly, if you reconnect the data cable you should allow it a few minutes to update. Click on the View menu, then click Refresh:

          If this fails, disconnect all other USB or FireWire devices except the keyboard and mouse. Restart the Mac with the Epson printer directly connected to a port on the Mac.

        • Epson also recommends changing the data cable for a different, known-working cable. If the Epson printer is not detected in the System Profiler, test the printer on a different computer (Mac or Windows) where possible.

        • If you are using a printer which has both a USB and FireWire port, you could try using the other interface connection. Click Refresh and allow the Profiler a few minutes to update.

          Alternatively if another printer is available, try printing to it. Verify that the connections are working, the printer is ready, and that any required software for the additional printer is installed.

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    Isolating the issue - Network printers:

    Recommendations from Apple's support article:

    • Verify that other network services, such as file sharing and Web browsing, are available and work.
    • If the printer is an AppleTalk printer, verify that AppleTalk is active in the Network pane of System Preferences. Access this setting by clicking on the network type in the list (such as Airport, or Built-in Ethernet), then click Advanced. Click on the AppleTalk tab.

    • If another printer is available, try printing to it. Verify that the connections work, that network preferences are correct, and that the any required software for the additional printer is installed.
    • If there is another node on the network that can successfully print to this printer, move the computer to this node. It may be necessary to change network settings at this point.

      Notes Icon Note:

      Epson do not support the use of third party print server, nor devices such as Apple's Airport base stations. Please follow the documentation provided by the manufacturer of the print server or Airport base station to troubleshoot the issue.

      Click here to open Apple article "Connecting a USB printer to an AirPort base station".

    Epson Printer Utilities

    If the printer prints but you cannot view Status Monitor, note that EPSON Status Monitor and the Epson Printer Utility are only supported when an Epson printer is connected via one of the following methods:

    • A standard and direct USB cable connection,
    • A standard FireWire connection,
    • Or with a supported Epson print server.

    Apple's Airport base station models do not support printer utilities. In our experience, it is often the case that third party print servers do not have the capability to support printer utilities.

    Shared Printers

    • Epson do not currently support cross-platform printer sharing e.g. Windows - Mac. This is because Windows 'sharing' does not use the Epson Mac OS X driver, but instead uses third party Gutenprint drivers. Therefore the remainder of the troubleshooting steps in this article cannot be applied to try to resolve an issue with a cross-platform shared printer. Click here to open the Apple support article for using a Windows printer in OS X.
    • Sharing printers between different Mac OS X systems can normally work, however some products may be supported by an Epson inbox driver on one system, or use a non-universal binary Epson driver and therefore it may not be possible to share that driver with OS X v.10.5.

      Apple have released a support article specific to printer sharing between Leopard (10.5) and earlier versions of Mac OS X. See article "Mac OS X 10.5: Using printer sharing with different versions of Mac OS X".

      Make sure that the printer is set to share in Print & Fax and consult the Apple documentation for assistance on Mac OS X printer sharing.

    • Apple recommend using the same printer driver version on the computer sharing the printer and the computer printing to the shared printer, to avoid an issue whereby an application you attempt to print from quits unexpectedly (or "crashes").
    • There is an issue recognised by Apple, where shared printers may be removed from the Printer List when the Mac goes into sleep mode. Click here to open the support article on the Apple website.

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  8. Check that the correct Epson printer driver is listed in Print & Fax.
  9. If the Epson driver is not listed, download and install it from the Epson Support website.
  10. Make sure that the paper size you use most is set as the Default Paper Size in Print & Fax - we recommend setting 'A4' as opposed to 'US Letter'.
  11. To test the printer, try to print a nozzle check. Makre sure plain A4 paper is loaded and double-click the printer name in Print & Fax. A window will open, click on Utility from the top of the window. In the Epson Printer Utility, click on Nozzle Check.
    • If this is successful, the printer is ready to use. Try to print from Text Edit (found in Applications) to check if printing from native OS X applications is possible (as in Step 13).
    • If the print fails, or it is not possible to open the Epson Printer Utility from Print & Fax, move to Step 12.

  12. Uninstall and reinstall the printer driver using the following instructions:

    1. Quit any open applications.
    2. Open Print & Fax from System Preferences.
    3. If no other printers are installed, hold down the Control key as you click in the Printer List, and click on Reset printing system from the pop-up menu that appears.
    4. If other printers are installed and you do not wish to re-add them, click on the printer entry in the list to highlight it then click on the delete delete button.
    5. Disconnect the printer's data cable from the Mac or printer.
    6. Open the Mac OS X hard drive, then: /Library/Printers.
    7. Drag the complete EPSON folder to the Trash.

      Caution Icon Caution:

      This removes all Epson printers.

    8. Also Trash any drivers that were previously downloaded.
    9. Restart the Mac.
    10. Once restarted, empty the Trash.
    11. You will now need to run a repair utility that may take up to 30 minutes to complete.
    12. Open the hard drive, then /Applications/Utilities. Double-click on the Disk Utility icon.
    13. Click on Disk First Aid at the top of the window.
    14. Select your Mac OS X Leopard startup volume (hard drive) in the column to the left of the Disk Utility window.
    15. Click on Repair Disk Permissions at the bottom of the dialogue box.
    16. When this process is complete, restart the Mac.
    17. Once restarted, you will need to download the correct driver for OS X Leopard, install and Add the printer driver to Print & Fax.

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  13. Try a print from Text Edit, as it is native to OS X.

    1. Click on File > Print. The standard, default dialogue box is very basic and if not expanded, important settings such as paper type and print quality cannot be made.

    2. To display the full dialogue, click on the arrow to the right of the Printer: pull-down menu.

    3. This will reveal the expanded menu. The settings are now controlled by selecting an item from the lower drop-down list.

    4. Select the printer name from the Printer: pull-down menu.

    5. To show Epson specific-settings, click Print Settings from the Text Edit pull-down menu.

    6. Make settings as appropriate, check that the paper size selected matches the paper loaded in the printer. Click Print to send the document to the printer.
      • Some printers will have further options on the menu such as Extension Settings. For special printing tasks such as photos, you may need to check the settings in these menu options. This should not be necessary for this print test.

        Notes Icon Note:

        If Print Settings is not listed (or Printer Settings for some Laser printers), the Epson driver has not been added and a third party driver is in use. Try adding the printer driver again, and send a print from Text Edit to test the driver and the communication between the Mac and printer.

  14. If the troubleshooting fails:

    • If printing fails and Status Monitor cannot connect to the printer, test the printer on a different computer system where possible. This will help determine where the problem lies.
    • If you can print to the printer on a different computer, the problem is with the Mac system and we recommend contacting your computer supplier or Apple for support.
    • If you are still unable to print when using a different computer, we recommend taking the printer to a local Epson Express Centre for testing or contact Epson for support.
    • If printing is possible but you are experiencing slow printing times, see the following Related Article: Troubleshooting Slow Printing in Mac OS X

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